View Full Version : Feedback and the Asylum..

01-05-2011, 06:23 PM
*roaming the halls* "Now I know I left it here somewhere..*wipes a bit of drool* "Where is is?.."

What am I looking for you ask? Well my self esteem of course.. :) Now this isn't a rant and it isn't a slam against feedback but I thought I should maybe post this as a way to help other people afflicted with terminal "It isn't good enough" syndrome. I have lately been really killing myself to make the "perfect" map meaning perfect in the sense that it's somewhat on par with the great work posted here. I have a bit of a "eager to please" personality although I'm not sure when that happened. Lets face it everyone likes to hear nice things about their stuff. I guess sometimes if your anything like me you try so hard to get people to say nice things about your stuff that you lose sight of why you do this in the first place. For me it's all about the story.I usually get a story in my head and then need to make a map to go with it. Sometimes it's the other way around but not usually. I have a fairly vivid imagination and struggle with trying to make what I see in my head a reality. I love mapping I really do. But I love coming up with story ideas even more. The maps to me are just part of that process, and usually I'm looking for a certain "feel" with each one that I do that goes along with whatever little snippet that I'm writing. This is how Shendenflar was born. Now I'll freely admit I'm no great shakes as a cartographer but I DO try and I think I've come leaps and bounds since I first joined up here. What I am trying to get at is that it's OK to like your stuff. Take all the feedback and use it and make yourself better. There are so many helpful people here that it's hard NOT to get better. BUT at the end of the day when you look at your screen or your canvas like what you did. I'm learning that now. Thanks everyone !! :)

01-05-2011, 09:14 PM
I always say, "The quickest way to feel inadequate is to compare yourself to someone else". Don't do it. Ever. This is where cognitive-behaviorism comes in (my former profession of head-shrinking) - change the thought and you change the behavior. Instead say something like, "He does this better than I, but I do this better than he". Even if you really have to reach for something. Say something like, "He makes awesome hand-drawn maps but I scramble the heck out of eggs". So at least you come out even - never let yourself come out on the bottom. You'll end up depressed, wearing nothing but black, and sitting in your room (been there done that). It's called self-fulfilling prophecy - if you think that you suck then, in tiny ways, you make sure that you do. If you think that you make crappy maps then you'll always find a way to make a good map crappy. You sabotage yourself by comparing yourself to others in order to justify your thinking that you are less than them somehow. It's easy to give up but it's harder to work to get better. Don't take the easy way out; take the hard road and you'll feel better about yourself when you come out the other side. That work gives you motivation, drive, and once you have that you'll keep at it and eventually you'll be able to say, "He still does hand-drawn style better but I'm getting pretty good myself - plus, I still scramble the heck out of them eggs". Now you're just a little bit ahead. Don't say, "it's not as good as Mr. X and I'll never be that good". Instead say, "it's better than my last one and that's a good thing; a few more of these and I'll be pretty darn good". You want to know a secret? Mr. X said that very same thing so he stuck to it and got better and now he is where is - he just started his journey before you did. Maybe you walk faster so maybe you'll catch up to him and pass him. Maybe you won't but that's nothing to beat yourself up about...you've still come a long way and are much better than before. So while it's important to feel good about your work, you should never compare it to anything but your own work. Compare your stuff to someone else and you lose, compare your new stuff to your old stuff and you always win. Feeling like a winner helps to keep you positive and staying positive keeps you moving forward, rising above, and never accepting mediocrity from yourself. That's what drives the best. Well, I don't know really but it sounds good and that's what works for me, hence the nickname. And if I'm wrong I still make a mean breakfast. :)

01-05-2011, 10:00 PM
What Ascension said. He's right on.

Dude, I am still looking at my last map Xperemiante and trippin. I'm sure that will die off eventually (a good thing because that happens if you keep improving) and I already have ideas to do that style better. When I started here a year ago the only thing I had going for me was that 10+ years ago or so I was pretty good drawing with a pencil. I had no concept how to translate that into the digital world. I bumped into this website and it has been one of the best places I have ever found on the net. I downloaded Gimp a little over a year ago and foregoing sleep stayed up trying to beat it into submission. I still hack my way through it because I can barely stand to follow a tutorial and I'm still burning sleep hours to play with my Crayolas. :) Still, there are some of these guys who whip out works amazing every single time. I don't think I can do that because I keep trying new stuff every round. Will it be great or will it be a pile of mush? I dunno.

I just kept it in my head that can draw and that's not something everyone can do. I said to myself, "I might suck at digital but I can draw. Eventually I am going to get this." I am still learning and being helped by folks around here but at least now I'm able to also help others. That's a great feeling too.

Remember your strengths. If that's story telling then by all means try to work that into every map you create. Not just as a narrative to the making of it but put it on the map. I think Ascension made a map for the Brewery company that had all sorts of stories on it. You might check that out and think about doing something along those lines. If you keep at it you will look back and say, man, I wasn't so great when i started but I love what I'm doing now. I look back at my first few maps and I think...sheesh, what a noob. I can't wait to get enough new stuff to drop some of my older items off my website.

By being up in the light entering challenges you will force yourself to keep improving. Plus, remember, in most challenges there is usually one entry that just shines out supernova and scoops up all the votes. Never take it hard if you don't even get one vote (I know it's hard to do) but instead remember what you learned doing that piece.

Also, what you mention is exactly why I put the quote in my signature.

01-06-2011, 02:09 AM
If you start in a vacuum, and pull up one of the Magnum Awesome maps on here... or a scan of some 18th century cartographer's 10-year opus, a natural response is ohmygoodness that is ART, and here I am a mere scribbler. But that's THEIR vision. Especially starting from a story, or the germ of one, whatever mapping you do that expresses your ideas, is leagues better than those masterworks. Better in a subjective yet very real sense - who else is gonna draw up the visual representation of your world? I can wish I could do isometrics like Gluhoded or Crayons, I can even work at developing some skills in that vein, but I don't have to. Take "picture = 1000 words" and reverse it - i already CAN produce a verbal picture, with thousands of words. <shrug>... maybe less efficient, but maybe not. I'll wager a 35-year-old speedball #C3 pen nib that over a dozen Guildsmen have personally labeled me jbgibson, the verbose :-). I'll happily wear that badge.

Heeeehee - maybe one day we'll do a contest where we produce a map using only words :-).

I do compare my work with others', but I don't tend to get angsty about my shortcomings. I err on the side of being all Walter Mitty about it - "I could do that... might spend the thousand hours to get there, some day..." I expect a general progression like Ascension's name: I'll get better'n better, by'n by. Plus, as my father-in-law says "somebody's got to sit on the curb and cheer" ;-).

btw, jtougas - Commander Mayer's views of UNC-134.B no doubt had to be fairly low-res, to fit on the transwave message back to company HQ, so no need to feel it's a poor comparison. It's a perfect 10,000-mile view! So I'm glad you like what you do - the rest of us do, too.

I even enjoy the challenge of somebody getting persnickety and complaining "Oh, come ON now, everybody knows northern-hemisphere whirlpools spin the OTHER way, tsk, tsk." That drives my rationalizer bump into overdrive... so this world spins the other way, hunh! Or it isn't a whirlpool sucking down, it'a a whirlmount piling water UP, so there!

And I make a pretty decent omlette too :-).

01-06-2011, 02:31 AM
I'm not sure about your verbosity my friend. I was just looking at my numbers and I think I talk WAY too much. I need to shut up and go map more, that's what I need to do. Verbose! HA!

01-06-2011, 10:18 AM
Being in the Asylum is a badge of honour! It means you've taken on a city map, and IMO they are the hardest and most time consuming maps to do properly. But don't get obsessed about the results, the fun is in the process. This is a hobby and if you don't have fun doing it, then it's the wrong hobby for you. For me it's all about experimentation and play (which is why it takes me ages to complete anything if I complete it at all). I can't tell you the number of dead ends I've driven up when making maps, I often find myself driving up the same dead end years later, but it's fun all the same. Being able to verbalise your maps the way you do and put them into the context of a story is a real advantage, it really helps to bring your maps to life. For me, the best maps tell some sort of story, that's what makes you want to pore over them. Why do we always 'pore' over maps? I'm a very harsh critic about my own work, often because I find it difficult to transpose what is in my head onto the screen. Often what's in my head is not clear, but a fuzzy thought and I rely on 'happy accidents' to firm it up. Finding those happy accidents can take a while, so you have to enjoy the journey!

01-06-2011, 11:58 AM
yep... what all the other said... ;)

I'm pretty good at graphic work - but maps are more in the art department - so I'm still learning there - and probably always will be. Its hard not to compare one self to the "stars" inhere - there are some damn good maps on here... and like Ravs I have a tendency to run into a deadend when making a map (have had my city map going for a long time now) ... and run out of time in challenges too :) ... and I'm not really good with beating the crap out of eggs either... *sigh* *lol* ... do make a good spaghetti bolognese though :)

Greason Wolfe
01-06-2011, 02:30 PM
When I first got here, I was in awe of what I saw. And, for a little bit, I so very much wanted to stand up and say "Yeah? Well I can do better than that." Then reality hit me in the head. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away . . . . Okay, so not that long ago, in a town near somebody, I quit comparing myself to others and started comparing myself to myself. If I do something well, but think I can do it better, I gauge my improvement against what I've done in the past, not what others are doing. Sure, I like to hear the nice compliment once in a while, but what I really like to hear is something along the lines of "That's your best work yet." Something like that tells me that others are paying attention not only to what I'm doing, but what I've done and where I can go.

Don't get me wrong, I love the challenges, even when work and family life beat the bejeezuz out of me and keep me from completing my entries. I always learn something from them, always take something new away from the process of trying to participate. That, I guess, is the key word. Sure, it's a competition of sorts, but it's more about participation, win, lose or draw. If you can keep that in your head as you're working, you'll get along just fine, and, before you know it, you'll be making maps you never would have imagined yourself making when you first joined the guild.

BTW, I'm just eating up those story snippets, so you can keep them coming as long as you like.


01-06-2011, 03:14 PM
Thanks everyone !! I have to say that I fully enjoy being a member of this Guild. I just needed a bit of a reboot I guess. I got so caught up in what I was creating I forgot why I was creating it in the first place. Without all the help I'd still be staring at the screen looking at my very first scribbles. I owe everyone here a debt of gratitude. :)